The twinkling neon starburst sign for Jack Chow Insurance has been a landmark at the intersection of Pender and Carrall since 1986.
The Chow family installed the sign during Expo ’86, when Jack Chow moved his company from its original location at 192 East Pender Street to the historic Sam Kee building.
The Jack Chow sign heralded the return of neon to Chinatown after a long hiatus—the 1974 neon sign bylaw had gotten rid of most other signs in the neighbourhood.
Jack prides himself on the unique architecture of the Sam Kee building and how it boasts many significant features. It's home to the only heated sidewalk service booths in the city, and The Guinness Book of World Records designated the Sam Kee as the world’s shallowest commercial building.
After growing up around the office, all of Jack’s four children now work for the namesake insurance agency.
“My father started the business. He’s a very innovative man. He made sure that everything we do, we do accurately. It’s important. We make sure that the customer’s always satisfied, and we do it in such a way that clients want to refer people to us.
My father always says, referrals are important, and it’s important to look after your customer, and it’s important to make sure that you do things right.
If you can do things right for people, then they will appreciate it, and they will come back. People have come back to us.”
CLOSE FULL STORY
— Rod Chow, president, Jack Chow Insurance
“Just today, they [the customers] brought dai bao here, and on Saturday, they brought fancy pastries to the Main Street store.
What more can I say? That speaks for itself. Who does that to people? The customers are so happy, they never go anywhere else.
That’s why we still have a good rapport with people because they can’t compare us with anybody else.”
CLOSE FULL STORY
— Jack Chow, proprietor, Jack Chow Insurance